McSween History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name McSween is Mac Suibhne, which is derived from the word "suibhne," which means "pleasant."
Early Origins of the McSween family
The surname McSween was first found in County Donegal (Irish: Dún na nGall), northwest Ireland in the province of Ulster, sometimes referred to as County Tyrconnel. The name is derived from Suibhne O'Neill, who was a chieftain in Argyll, Scotland. His descendants migrated to Ireland as gallowglasses (mercenaries) prior to 1267. The three great septs of this name finally established themselves in Tirconnell in 14th century; they were known as MacSweeney Fanad, MacSweeney Banagh, and MacSweeney na dTuath, who were commonly referred to as 'MacSweeney of the Battleaxes.' They later became attached to the MacCarthys in the south and acquired their own territories and castles in Muskerry in County Cork.
Early History of the McSween family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McSween research. Another 69 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1299 and 1310 are included under the topic Early McSween History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
McSween Spelling Variations
Within the archives researched, many different spelling variations of the surname McSween were found. These included One reason for the many variations is that scribes and church officials often spelled an individual's name as it sounded. This imprecise method often led to many versions. MacSweeney, MacSweeny, MacSwine, MacSwiney, MacSwyne, MacSwyny, MacWhinney, MacWhinny, MacWhinnie, MacSwiny, McSweeney, Swiney, Swinney and many more.
Early Notables of the McSween family (pre 1700)
Prominent amongst the family at this time was John MacSween, a 13th-14th century nobleman who lost his lands in Scotland after the defeat of the forces and death of Alexander Og MacDonald, Lord of Islay in 1299. In...
Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McSween Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
McSween migration to the United States +
During the 19th century thousands of impoverished Irish families made the long journey to British North America and the United States. These people were leaving a land that had become beset with poverty, lack of opportunity, and hunger. In North America, they hoped to find land, work, and political and religious freedoms. Although the majority of the immigrants that survived the long sea passage did make these discoveries, it was not without much perseverance and hard work: by the mid-19th century land suitable for agriculture was short supply, especially in British North America, in the east; the work available was generally low paying and physically taxing construction or factory work; and the English stereotypes concerning the Irish, although less frequent and vehement, were, nevertheless, present in the land of freedom, liberty, and equality for all men. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. Research into passenger and immigration lists has brought forth evidence of the early members of the McSween family in North America:
McSween Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- Wm. McSween, who settled in America, in 1892
McSween Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
- Neil McSween, aged 22, who immigrated to the United States from Skye, Scotland, in 1907
- John McSween, aged 30, who settled in America from Stornaway, Scotland, in 1910
- Matilda McSween, aged 38, who immigrated to America from St. John's, Grenada, in 1918
- John McSween, aged 49, who immigrated to the United States, in 1918
- John Duncan McSween, aged 51, who immigrated to the United States from Liverpool, in 1920
- ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Contemporary Notables of the name McSween (post 1700) +
- Harry "Hap" Y. McSween, American Professor of Planetary Geoscience and Distinguished Professor of Science at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville
- Harold Barnett McSween (1926-2002), American businessman from Louisiana and Democratic politician
- Susan McSween (1845-1931), American cattlewoman, called the "Cattle Queen of New Mexico", widow of Alexander McSween
- Donald Kennedy McSween (b. 1964), American NHL ice hockey player from Detroit
- Harold Barnett McSween (1926-2002), American Democratic Party politician, Writer; U.S. Representative from Louisiana 8th District, 1959-63 
- Alexander McSween (1843-1878), Canadian-born preacher, American gunfighter, central character in the Lincoln County War of the Old West
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